When I lived in DC and first started this blog I would run all over town looking for special ingredients. DC was a great place for hunting for unique recipe components. There was a great variety of markets I could visit to find almost anything I needed. Beside the fact that I had a multitude of shopping choices, the biggest contributor to these ingredient chases was that I had the time. It was in my pre-mommy/pre-homeowner days and I had all the time in the world to cook and track down every single specific ingredient. These days I just don't have the time to go to four different stores looking for something specific and so I substitute much more than I ever had to before.
When I first read through the ingredient list on this recipe, I planned on substituting the potato starch for corn starch. I had never heard of potato starch and since it was such a small amount I planned to use what I already had. But for some reason I decided to Google the difference between potato starch and corn starch as I sat down to make my grocery list. As it turns out, thickeners behave differently at different temperatures and potato starch is able to tolerate higher temperatures than corn starch. I decided to put faith in the author of this recipe and stick with potato starch since it is used to thicken baked goods. Luckily I only had to visit one additional store (Whole Foods) to find the potato starch.
Shrimp Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2012
- 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon's), divided
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add cream cheese, milk, and pepper; cook until cheese melts, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat. Stir in basil.
Place shrimp in a bowl. Sprinkle with potato starch; toss well to coat.
Add cream cheese mixture to shrimp; toss well.
4. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells.
Coat a 11 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Arrange shells in prepared dish;
top with remaining 2 cups marinara. Sprinkle shells evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until shrimp is done.
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